What Happened on the Emmaus Road? – Part 2
For this study, you will find it helpful to read the whole chapter of Luke 24. The passage we will look at is Luke 24:12-32.
Have you ever wondered why the two on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Jesus as He walked and talked with Him? Why would Jesus conceal His identity? Before we attempt to answer the question it is important to remember that Jesus was very intentional about everything He did. All words and actions from Jesus had a specific purpose and accomplished a specific goal. Furthermore, every detail the Bible gives should be considered because it directly affects the message being communicated.
Even though the actions of Jesus were impressive, it was never His goal to impress. Jesus is no showman doing miracles for the express purpose of wowing the crowd. Why then did Jesus restrain their eyes as it says in verse 16, only to reveal himself finally in verse 31 after He had shown them Himself in the pages of the Old Testament, and after He had supper with them?
In Luke 24:15 we are told they “conversed and reasoned”. They were trying to make sense of the things that they saw and experienced. What did it all mean? Who was this Jesus after all was said and done? They rolled it over in their minds, hashed it over, talked about it, and struggled to understand. These two men represented all of the followers of Jesus of the day in that they had unfulfilled expectations of who Jesus was and what they wanted Him to do. They were experiencing a sense of loss and were sad, as verse 17 points out.
In their minds, these two had every right to be sad! Here was this Jesus, who “was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people” (Luke 24:19). These two weary travelers explained how “the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.” (Luke 24:20)
But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.
Now we have enough information I believe to answer the question why did Jesus conceal His identity from these two men? Consider the following verses.
25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Do you see that? In this two hour journey, Jesus Himself starting in the Book of Genesis (Moses), straight through to Malachi (all the Prophets), connected the dots for these two men. You see, they didn’t recognize Jesus physically, because they didn’t fully know Him when He walked among them. Somehow they missed the fact that Jesus was the central figure of their scriptures, that every book contains information concerning Him. God in His incredible love and faithfulness prophesied Jesus from page one to page last. Jesus is indeed the fulfillment of God’s Old or First covenant. He is the embodiment of the New Covenant, but in order to see it, one must see Him in the Old. I strongly believe had Jesus not restrained their eyes from knowing who He was He would not have had their attention. They would have been (rightly) overjoyed at His resurrection, but their attention would have been on the moment, shifting to their glorious future with Him.
Jesus needed them to understand that not only was He a prophet, but the one prophesied. To know Jesus fully, not only must you be saved, you need to know all that both Old and New Testaments say about Him. The Old and New Testaments together contain the details God would have us know about Jesus.
Remember Jesus’ disciples were looking for a deliverer from the Roman empire. They were looking at the right now Jesus, and missing that He is the one and only deliverer transcending every age. He delivers not only from earthly kingdoms but most importantly from the kingdom of darkness.
In revealing Himself first in the pages of the Old Testament Jesus was recentering these two men on who He truly is so that they may know Him fully when He revealed Himself to them physically.
Bubbling to the surface in this wonderful passage of scripture I see a challenge. Can we, beginning at Moses and all the prophets discover Jesus?
Will you accept the challenge?
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.
All Scripture Quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.